Indigenous lawn bowls player represents Australia at World Champion of Champions competition

The annual lawn bowls World Singles Champion of Champions has begun once again, this year being held at the Adelaide Bowling Club in South Australia.

A competition for lawn bowlers who have won their national singles titles, the World Singles Champion of Champions was first held in 2003 in Moama, New South Wales.

One of two Australian representatives in this year’s Championship is 24-year-old Indigenous woman Kylie Whitehead.

This will be not only Whitehead’s first time wearing the green and gold, but the first time an Indigenous woman has competed in the Championship. 

When questioned about the opportunity, Whitehead was eager to be part of the competition.

“I could not be more excited,” Ms Whitehead said.

Three years into Whitehead’s career in 2012 she won the State Novice Singles. Not long after, she won her very first State Title and was selected to join the Victorian Senior side. In 2015, Whitehead made the semi-finals in the Under-25 State Singles.

Whitehead started her career locally like most, playing at Wodonga Bowling Club. The lawn bowler has said the club was very supportive from the beginning and has always been encouraging. 

Whitehead said she wants to inspire and encourage other Indigenous athletes just as her club encouraged and supported her. 

Statements from Whitehead show that since the beginning of her bowling career in 2009, it’s been a long term goal of hers to wear the green and gold and inspire other young Indigenous athletes – a sentiment often carried by other Indigenous athletes.

“I got my uniform a while ago. It has just been sitting there as the months have ticked along – I was always looking at it and I just wanted to wear it, now the time is here.”

The event will feature 50 international players from nearly 30 countries, competing for the male and female World Singles titles.

Day one of the seven day Championship saw Whitehead win in her opening match against Zimbabwean Bonnita Van Heerden in a straight set. 

Qualifying rounds will be played until the afternoon of Friday November 1, with play-offs and semi-finals on Saturday, and the battle for the World Champion of Champions title set to be played on Sunday November 3.

By Sharnae Watson 

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